“Hey, how have you been?!” My friends would text.
*I am not quite sure. I think this pandemic is taking a real toll on me. I haven’t been “out” Out in months, except for my two entrances and twice for my medical check-ups. I haven’t seen my friends for days. My independence after the pandemic has been dramatically decreased. I feel stuck. I can’t move out and I can’t stay in anymore. I’m tired of this virtual world and sitting in my room 24/7.*
This is what I really wanted to say, but instead:
“I’m doing just fine!” This is what I always replied with.
These are how most of my chats for the last few months looked like. And feeling overwhelmed, extremely exhausted and crying myself to sleep, without letting anyone know; these are how most of my days in the past months looked.
The ableist society and internalising all that ableism used to make things worse on usual days anyway, leave alone thinking about ableism amidst a pandemic. The already existing inaccessibility and discrimination have increased. The stereotypes have doubled up. The independence has been lost.
Just as the speed of which the prejudices and the marginalization have increased after COVID-19, so has the internalised ableism in me.
I guess, living with a disability amidst a pandemic hits differently.
One belief that never goes away is that of being a burden. Even though I have a supportive group of friends and family, sharing what I’m feeling is something I’m unable to do. Why, you ask? Because how do you overcome the beliefs about yourself that you’ve grown up Internalising?
The thought that “these are already hard times and I do not want to end up being another added stressor in the lives of the people I love”, always remains. And it doesn’t end there. Sometimes there are also feelings of ” proving” your worth to others because as a disabled woman, most of the times you’re rarely taken seriously.
So there’s this added stressor of being productive. Of proving what you’re capable of. Regardless of the fact whether you have the energy for it or not. And when that doesn’t happen, you feel disappointed in yourself. You were already not in a good place, now you feel even worse.
Because of the ableism that’s inside you, it gets even harder to reach out for support that you really need. So you also start feeling helpless, hopeless and what not.